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L-27654 February 18, 1970
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE RAUL ALMACEN In L-27654, ANTONIO H. CALERO, vs. VIRGINIA Y. YAPTINCHAY. RESOLUTION CASTRO, J.: Before us is Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen's "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," filed on September 25, 1967, in protest against what he therein asserts is "a great injustice committed against his client by this Supreme Court." He indicts this Court, in his own phrase, as a tribunal "peopled by men who are calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity." His client's he continues, who was deeply aggrieved by this Court's "unjust judgment," has become "one of the sacrificial victims before the altar of hypocrisy." In the same breath that he alludes to the classic symbol of justice, he ridicules the members of this Court, saying "that justice as administered by the present members of the Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb." He then vows to argue the cause of his client "in the people's forum," so that "the people may know of the silent injustice's committed by this Court," and that "whatever mistakes, wrongs and injustices that were committed must never be repeated." He ends his petition with a prayer that ... a resolution issue ordering the Clerk of Court to receive the certificate of the undersigned attorney and counsellor-at-law IN TRUST with reservation that at any time in the future and in the event we regain our faith and confidence, we may retrieve our title to assume the practice of the noblest profession. He reiterated and disclosed to the press the contents of the aforementioned petition. Thus, on September 26, 1967, the Manila Times published statements attributed to him, as follows: Vicente Raul Almacen, in an unprecedented petition, said he did it to expose the tribunal's "unconstitutional and obnoxious" practice of arbitrarily denying petitions or appeals without any reason. Because of the tribunal's "short-cut justice," Almacen deplored, his client was condemned to pay P120,000, without knowing why he lost the case. xxx xxx xxx There is no use continuing his law practice, Almacen said in this petition, "where our Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reason their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity. xxx xxx xxx 1
He expressed the hope that by divesting himself of his title by which he earns his living, the present members of the Supreme Court "will become responsive to all cases brought to its attention without discrimination, and will purge itself of those unconstitutional and obnoxious "lack of merit" or "denied resolutions. (Emphasis supplied) Atty. Almacen's statement that ... our own Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas of [sic] justice, who ignore their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity was quoted by columnist Vicente Albano Pacis in the issue of the Manila Chronicle of September 28, 1967. In connection therewith, Pacis commented that Atty. Almacen had "accused the high tribunal of offenses so serious that the Court must clear itself," and that "his charge is one of the constitutional bases for impeachment." The genesis of this unfortunate incident was a civil case entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs. Antonio H. Calero, 1 in which Atty. Almacen was counsel for the defendant. The trial court, after due hearing, rendered judgment against his client. On June 15, 1966 Atty. Almacen received a copy of the decision. Twenty days later, or on July 5, 1966, he moved for its reconsideration. He served on the adverse counsel a copy of the motion, but did not notify the latter of the time and place of hearing on said motion. Meanwhile, on July 18, 1966, the plaintiff moved for execution of the judgment. For "lack of proof of service," the trial court denied both motions. To prove that he did serve on the adverse party a copy of his first motion for reconsideration, Atty. Almacen filed on August 17, 1966 a second motion for reconsideration to which he attached the required registry return card. This second motion for reconsideration, however, was ordered withdrawn by the trial court on August 30, 1966, upon verbal motion of Atty. Almacen himself, who, earlier, that is, on August 22, 1966, had already perfected the appeal. Because the plaintiff interposed no objection to the record on appeal and appeal bond, the trial court elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. But the Court of Appeals, on the authority of this Court's decision in Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., L-16636, June 24, 1965, dismissed the appeal, in the following words: Upon consideration of the motion dated March 27, 1967, filed by plaintiff-appellee praying that the appeal be dismissed, and of the opposition thereto filed by defendant-appellant; the Court RESOLVED TO DISMISS, as it hereby dismisses, the appeal, for the reason that the motion for reconsideration dated July 5, 1966 (pp. 90-113, printed record on appeal) does not contain a notice of time and place of hearing thereof and is, therefore, a useless piece of paper (Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L-16636, June 24, 1965), which did not interrupt the running of the period to appeal, and, consequently, the appeal was perfected out of time. Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this resolution, urging that Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. is not decisive. At the same time he filed a pleading entitled "Latest decision of the Supreme Court in Support of Motion for Reconsideration," citing Republic of the Philippines vs. Gregorio A. Venturanza, L-20417, decided by this Court on May 30, 1966, as the applicable case. Again, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration, thus: Before this Court for resolution are the motion dated May 9, 1967 and the supplement thereto of the same date filed by defendant- appellant, praying for reconsideration of the resolution of May 8, 1967, dismissing the appeal.
L. based on grounds similar to those raised herein was issued on November 26. L-20417. oral argument shall be deemed waived and incident submitted for decision. the resolution denying the motion to dismiss the appeal. as undignified and cynical as it is unchastened. vs. Almacen to state. so that this Court could act on his petition. he was allowed to file a written explanation and thereafter was heard in oral argument. May 30. Atty. Further. Patiently.. 1967." Denying the charges contained in the November 17 resolution. Calero vs. June 24. the ruling is contrary to the doctrine laid down in the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. 1967 resolution did not require him to do either a positive or negative act. case. 1967. G. 1965." that this Court's September 28. Almacen unremittingly repeats his jeremiad of lamentations.. 1966. So he was reminded to turn over his certificate. Almacen to show cause "why no disciplinary action should be taken against him. We refused to take the case.R. against this Court as well as its individual members." already adverted to — a pleading that is interspersed from beginning to end with the insolent contemptuous. Appellant further states that in the latest case. Venturanza. Hence. Nonetheless we decided by resolution dated September 28. Far from being contrite Atty. Venturanza is no authority on the matter in issue. Almacen then appealed to this Court by certiorari. decided by the Supreme Court concerning the question raised by appellant's motion." To this resolution he manifested that since this Court is "the complainant. said case is now final and executory.16636. Inc. In the case of Republic vs. 1965. he asked for permission "to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him . Yaptinchay.. Thus: 3 .R. 1967 to withhold action on his petition until he shall have actually surrendered his certificate. L-27654. this time embellishing it with abundant sarcasm and innuendo. and by minute resolution denied the appeal. Therefore Republic vs.Appellant contends that there are some important distinctions between this case and that of Manila Surety and Fidelity Co. Almacen gave vent to his disappointment by filing his "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title. Inc. the resolution in the Venturanza case was interlocutory and the Supreme Court issued it "without prejudice to appellee's restoring the point in the brief. otherwise. To said reminder he manifested "that he has no pending petition in connection with Case G. vs. No. It was at this juncture that Atty. grossly disrespectful and derogatory remarks hereinbefore reproduced. relied upon by this Court in its resolution of May 8. within five days from notice hereof. Batu Construction & Co. 1967 resolved to require Atty. He also asked for leave to file a written explanation "in the event this Court has no time to hear him in person." To give him the ampliest latitude for his defense. a behavior that is as unprecedented as it is unprofessional. which was much earlier than the date of promulgation of the decision in the Manila Surety Case. There is no substantial distinction between this case and that of Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. Republic vs. we waited for him to make good his proffer. No.. this Court on November 17. 1962. Entry of judgment was made on September 8. and that since his offer was not accepted. Denied shortly thereafter was his motion for reconsideration as well as his petition for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration and for extension of time. in an open and public hearing. No word came from him. which was June 24." he preferred to be heard and to answer questions "in person and in an open and public hearing" so that this Court could observe his sincerity and candor. which he had earlier vociferously offered to surrender." In the main decision in said case (Rep. His written answer. prosecutor and Judge." In the exercise of its inherent power to discipline a member of the bar for contumely and gross misconduct. Venturanza. 1962. he "chose to pursue the negative act. the second motion for reconsideration filed by him after the Said date was ordered expunged from the records." This Court resolved (on December 7) "to require Atty. his reasons for such request. one of which is that in the Manila Surety and Fidelity case. offers -no apology.. Venturanza the Supreme Court passed upon the issue sub silencio presumably because of its prior decisions contrary to the resolution of November 26.
. and then thou wilt see clearly to cast out the speck from thy brother's eyes. that even our own President. and yet dost not consider the beam in thy own eye? Or how can thou say to thy brother. For with what judgment you judge. the way of life in the Philippines today. "Let me cast out the speck from thy eye". that they tend to bring the entire Court. DENIED.At the start. though nebulous . sympathy and above all in the highest interest of JUSTICE. Now that your respondent is given the opportunity to face you.. and constitute conduct unbecoming of a member of the noble profession of law. and behold. But why dost thou see the speck in thy brother's eye. there is a beam in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite. it is plain callousness towards our particular case. fairness. xxx xxx xxx Respondent stands four-square that his statement is borne by TRUTH and has been asserted with NO MALICE BEFORE AND AFTER THOUGHT but mainly motivated with the highest interest of justice that in the particular case of our client. supplications. he refirms the truth of what he stated. you shall be judged. Did His Honors care to listen to our pleadings and supplications for JUSTICE. . with all its hardiness and insensibility. nor consent to the doing of any in court.is to its truth. Chapter 7. DID YOU? Sir. it shall be measured to you. Matthew: — "Do not judge. it is still being circulated that justice in the Philippines today is not what it is used 4 ." "Therefore all that you wish men to do to you. words of humility. first cast out the beam from thy own eye. CHARITY." xxx xxx xxx Your respondent has no intention of disavowing the statements mentioned in his petition. into disrepute. said: — "the story is current. that you may not be judged. is now in the attempt to inflict punishment on your respondent for acts he said in good faith. xxx xxx xxx To all these beggings. in simple word. he reiterates the same statement with emphasis. GENEROSITY and FAIRNESS? Did His Honors attempt to justify their stubborn denial with any semblance of reason. That was the unfeeling of the Court towards our pleas and prayers. contemptuous. let me quote passages from the Holy Bible. understanding. On the contrary. But he vigorously DENY under oath that the underscored statements contained in the CHARGE are insolent. without justification. grossly disrespectful and derogatory to the individual members of the Court. compatible with his lawyer's oath that he will do no falsehood. Is this. you remained unpunished. and with what measure you measure. appeals for charity. this Court in the reverse order of natural things. even to do you also to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets. St. our pleadings will bear us on this matter. generosity. — what did we get from this COURT? One word. the members have shown callousness to our various pleas for JUSTICE. NEVER. xxx xxx xxx Now that your respondent has the guts to tell the members of the Court that notwithstanding the violation of the Constitution.
. Recalling Madam Roland's famous apostrophe during the French revolution.. Because what has been lost today may be regained tomorrow. after seeing that the Constitution has placed finality on your judgment against our client and sensing that you have not performed your duties with "circumspection.to be before the war. "O Liberty. We only describe the. 5 . We attack the decision of this Court. We refer to no human defect or ailment in the above statement. We were provoked. not one word was spoken or given . dumb in the sense." xxx xxx xxx We must admit that this Court is not free from commission of any abuses. what technicalities are committed in thy name' or more appropriately. We were compelled by force of necessity. We have added only two more symbols. we must uphold the latter. generosity. impersonal state of things and nothing more. xxx xxx xxx The INJUSTICES which we have attributed to this Court and the further violations we sought to be prevented is impliedly shared by our President. We detest the ACTS. we have lost our faith and confidence in the members of this Court and for which reason we offered to surrender our lawyer's certificate. there is no choice. your Respondent rise to claim his God given right to speak the truth and his Constitutional right of free speech. a marketable commodity in the Philippines. . If we have to choose between forcing ourselves to have faith and confidence in the members of the Court but disregard our Constitution and to uphold the Constitution and be condemned by the members of this Court. . we may dare say. xxx xxx xxx The phrase. are the very things that were applied to us.. We never interfered nor obstruct in the performance of their duties. But in the end. understanding sympathy and for justice. that inspite of our beggings. what crimes are committed in thy name". We waited until this Court has performed its duties. "O JUSTICE. .. xxx xxx xxx As we have stated. confidence and wisdom". supplications. We were angry but we waited for the finality of the decision.. not the members. 'O JUSTICE. Deaf in the sense that no members of this Court has ever heard our cries for charity. xxx xxx xxx What has been abhored and condemned. then we alone may decide as to when we must end our self-sacrifice. A strong public opinion must be generated so as to curtail these abuses. IN TRUST ONLY. what injustices are committed in thy name. carefulness. There are those who have told me frankly and brutally that justice is a commodity. fairness.." xxx xxx xxx We condemn the SIN. As the offer was intended as our self-imposed sacrifice. not the ACTOR. but who would correct such abuses considering that yours is a court of last resort. that it is also deaf and dumb. Justice is blind is symbolize in paintings that can be found in all courts and government offices. not the SINNER. and pleadings to give us reasons why our appeal has been DENIED.
1. In order that the Court may be enabled to discharge its indispensable duties. this Court.. wherein petitions for review are often merely ordered "dismissed". this Court has been generous in giving due course to petitions for certiorari. Since there are these conflicting. et al. Truth to tell. Practical considerations preclude.S. We have given this suggestion very careful thought. Justice Frankfurter in Maryland vs.260. If the Court is to do its work it would not be feasible to give reasons. on their merits. as Mr. in Novino. 1. however. the petitioners counsel urged that a "lack of merit" resolution violates Section 12 of Article VIII of the Constitution. it has been suggested from time to time that the Court indicate its reasons for denial. 94 L. even confusing reasons for denying petitions for certiorari.. in effect.S.But overlooking. but of sound judicial discretion. By the way. They merely hold that the petition for review should not be entertained in view of the provisions of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court. it was patterned after the practice of the U. within the Court's discretion. to state the facts and the law. were we to accept every case or write a full opinion for every petition we reject. for refusing to take these cases. and so there is no need to fully explain the court's denial. For the same three terms the Court denied. It should be remembered that a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals is not a matter of right. respectively. withstand critical scrutiny. We are quite aware of the criticisms 2 expressed against this Court's practice of rejecting petitions by minute resolutions.3 The rest do exhibit a first-impression cogency. The proper role of the Supreme Court. 217. and to spell out the reasons for denial. ed 562.21098.105. and as to the same petition different reasons may read different justices to the same result . for the nonce. Six years ago. most petitions rejected by this Court are utterly frivolous and ought never to have been lodged at all. The tune that would be required is prohibitive. to the uninformed. the vituperative chaff which he claims is not intended as a studied disrespect to this Court. only to have his efforts rebuffed with a terse unadorned denial. Be this as it may. For we know the abject frustration of a lawyer who tediously collates the facts and for many weary hours meticulously marshalls his arguments. May 31. Congress has placed the control of the Court's business.. Baltimore Radio Show. He chafes at the minute resolution denial of his petition for review. Court of Appeals. is to decide "only those cases which present questions whose resolutions will have immediate importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved. Apart from the fact that as already indicated different reasons not infrequently move different members of the Court in concluding that a particular case at a particular time makes review undesirable. the same question has been raised before. Supreme Court has defined it. we would be unable to carry out effectively the burden placed upon us by the Constitution. 224 cases.. For one thing. respectively. We have been asked to do away with it. and even ordinary lawyers have all this time so understood it. There. 1. Chief Justice Vinson of the U.189 petitions calling for discretionary review." Pertinent here is the observation of Mr. however brief.G. 8099). Supreme Court. articulated its considered view on this matter. 1963 (60 O. through the then Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon. Said Chief Justice Bengzon: In connection with identical short resolutions. 566: A variety of considerations underlie denials of the writ. and. et al.1. and we held that these "resolutions" are not "decisions" within the above constitutional requirement. By and large. . let us examine the grain of his grievances. vs. but fail to. this mode of disposal has — as intended — helped the Court in alleviating its heavy docket. During the last three terms the Court disposed of 260. the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals' opinion. 6 .
4 of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which recites: Review of Court of Appeals' decision discretionary. therefore. 81. that the Court of Appeals had fully and correctly considered the dismissal of his appeal in the light of the law and applicable decisions of this Court. We know that it is natural for a lawyer to express his dissatisfaction each time he loses what he sanguinely believes to 7 ." it traced the procedural lines etched by this Court in a number of decisions.—A review is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion. upon a thoroughgoing examination of the pleadings. we found. and place of hearing and shall be served upon all the Parties concerned at least three days in advance. indicate the character of reasons which will be considered: (a) When the Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance. If Atty.. 42 Phil. 117).18638. and records. supra: The written notice referred to evidently is prescribed for motions in general by Rule 15. Feb. Damasco. Nonetheless we gave this unprecedented act of Atty. which. which provides that such notice shall state the time. Roman Catholic Bishop of Lipa v. And according to Section 6 of the same Rule no motion shall be acted upon by the court without proof of such notice. he has only himself to blame. and will be granted only when there are special and important reasons therefor. To shift away from himself the consequences of his carelessness. 41 Phil. This axiom is implied in sec. Recalling Atty. This rule was unequivocally articulated in Manila Surety & Fidelity vs. no need for this Court to exercise its supervisory power. citing Manakil v. 1963. Almacen knew — or ought to have known — that for a motion for reconsideration to stay the running of the period of appeal. Batu Construction & Co. 45 Phil. nor has decided it in a way probably not in accord with law or with the applicable decisions of the Supreme Court. His own negligence caused the forfeiture of the remedy of appeal. Municipality of Unisan. Almacen's petition for review. the need for compelling reasons to buttress such petitions if this Court is to be moved into accepting them. Sanz. is not a matter of right. and." But he made sure that he assumed the posture of a martyr. while neither controlling nor fully measuring the court's discretion. Indeed it has been held that in such a case the motion is nothing but a useless piece of paper (Philippine National Bank v. Revilla.We underscore the fact that cases taken to this Court on petitions for certiorari from the Court of Appeals have had the benefit of appellate review. (b) When the Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings. 28. 866. not theretofore determined by the Supreme Court. As a law practitioner who was admitted to the Bar as far back as 1941. but also notify the adverse party of the time and place of hearing (which admittedly he did not). Almacen the most circumspect consideration. There was. Hence. in offering to surrender his professional certificate. or so far sanctioned such departure by the lower court. The following. he took the liberty of vilifying this Court and inflicting his exacerbating rancor on the members thereof. Sections 4 and 5 (formerly Rule 26). It would thus appear that there is no justification for his scurrilous and scandalous outbursts. For it is axiomatic that the supervisory jurisdiction vested upon this Court over the Court of Appeals is not intended to give every losing party another hearing. and Director of Lands vs. Atty. and if he objects. The reason is obvious: Unless the movant sets the time and place of hearing the Court would have no way to determine whether that party agrees to or objects to the motion. Far from straying away from the "accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings. since the Rules themselves do not fix any period within which he may file his reply or opposition. the movant must not only serve a copy of the motion upon the adverse party (which he did). I. incidentally. Almacen failed to move the appellate court to review the lower court's judgment. to hear him on his objection. he looked for a "whipping boy. as to call for the exercise of the power of supervision.
11 Courts and judges are not sacrosanct. . both as an officer of the court and as a citizen. They are in constant attendance on the courts. 40 Am. 7 "Our decisions and all our official actions. 10 For courageous and fearless advocates are the strands that weave durability into the tapestry of justice. 487) . competence and honesty. the judiciary is rooted in the soil of democratic society. to criticize in properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. he points out the errors of lower courts. 4 or that it is articulated by a lawyer.. No law may abridge this right. 641: No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expansion or publication of opinions as to the capacity. As aptly stated by Chief Justice Sharswood in Ex Parte Steinman. 13 For like the executive and the legislative branches. Judicial officers. must answer for their official actions before the chancery of public opinion. . Moreover. Nor is he "professionally answerable for a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judges. as a citizen and as Officer of the court a lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right. indeed. every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the actuations of public officers. Hence. with "imminent danger to the administration of justice. not only the courts' rulings but. in assuming the important place accorded to him in the administration of justice.. like other public servants. 126 NYS 2d 286). which would not expose him to legal animadversion as a citizen." is the reason why courts have been loath to inflict punishment on those who assail their actuations. also the manner in which they are handed down. In written for law journals he dissects with detachment the doctrinal pronouncements of courts and fearlessly lays bare for -all to see that flaws and inconsistence" of the doctrines (Hill v." said the Supreme Court of Nebraska. Dee. Criticism of the courts has. is a position too monstrous to be entertained. (In re Ades. 28 Am. 665).be a meritorious case. 8 . 8 "are public property. his right as a citizen to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful manner. by the judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose. This right is not diminished by the fact that the criticism is aimed at a judicial authority. Lyman. Well-recognized therefore is the right of a lawyer. but also to consider it his duty to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and judges. been an important part of the traditional work of the bar. but also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. as well as of the judiciary. and the independence of the bar. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood. and the press and the people have the undoubted right to comment on them. .. Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint a lawyer who vigorously assails their actuations. impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar." (Case of Austin. every lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right. They have the best opportunities for observing and forming a correct judgment. The reason is that An attorney does not surrender. That is why lawyers are given 'wide latitude to differ with. In the prosecution of appeals. Hence.5 Such right is especially recognized where the criticism concerns a concluded litigation. as citizen and officer of the court. has always been encouraged by the courts. and voice their disapproval of. 6 F Supp." The likely danger of confusing the fury of human reaction to an attack on one's integrity. Rep. 9 This danger lurks especially in such a case as this where those who Sit as members of an entire Court are themselves collectively the aggrieved parties. nourished by the periodic appraisal of the citizens whom it is expected to serve. criticize and censure them as they see fit.. 6 because then the court's actuations are thrown open to public consumption. 12 They should and expect critical evaluation of their performance. 657.
A wide chasm exists between fair criticism.Above all others. Hence." 15 The first canon of legal ethics enjoins him "to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude. This obligation is not discharged by merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in open court. 1967) 9 . Hart. and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof. 196) But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide. v. 116 N. It is Such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action. 647. but for the maintenance of its supreme importance. June 26. and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. in the — assertion of their clients' rights. membership in the Bar imposes upon a person obligations and duties which are not mere flux and ferment.W. The decisions of the judge must be obeyed." (State v. "Under such a rule.W. Circuit Court. 212. on the other. however. That is his misfortune.. not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office. but discipline and self-respect are as necessary to the orderly administration of justice as they are to the effectiveness of an army. more exacting and more imperative than that of respectful behavior toward the courts. (In Re Scouten. when they are admitted to the Bar." As Mr." so far as the bar is concerned. 72 N. He vows solemnly to conduct himself "with all good fidelity . to the courts. lawyers — even those gifted with superior intellect are enjoined to rein up their tempers. but to maintain at all times the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers. 40 Atl. His investiture into the legal profession places upon his shoulders no burden more basic. (Bradley. For. (Per Justice Sanchez in Rheem of the Philippines vs. is not merely to be obedient to the Constitution and laws. on the One hand. the members of the bar have the beat Opportunity to become conversant with the character and efficiency of our judges... 216) To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of the foibles of courts and judges is to seal the lips of those in the best position to give advice and who might consider it their duty to speak disparagingly. 20 Law. Ferrer. Fisher. as no other class has as great an interest in the preservation of an able and upright bench.. "the merits of a sitting judge may be rehearsed. L-22979. if they do not by express declaration take upon themselves. but includes abstaining out of court from all insulting language and offensive conduct toward judges personally for their judicial acts. the obligation which attorneys impliedly assume. The counsel in any case may or may not be an abler or more learned lawyer than the judge. 14 and the Rules of Court constantly remind him "to observe and maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. and the bar should at all times be the foremost in rendering respectful submission. 4d. And he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. because he is the tribunal appointed to decide. should not be allowed to harden into a belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. 652) The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the orderly administration of justice. but as to his demerits there must be profound silence. (State Board of Examiners in Law v. Justice Field puts it: . and it may tax his patience and temper to submit to rulings which he regards as incorrect. 481) We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment That is his privilege. Some such frame of mind. No class is less likely to abuse the privilege.
when the likely impairment of the administration of justice the direct product of false and scandalous accusations then the rule is otherwise. See State Board. 116 N. In In Re Humphrey. 17 LRA (N. Calhoon. Rep. and the dignity and usefulness of the courts be maintained. 2d 604. statements made by an attorney in private conversations or communications 16 or in the course of a political. of being so prejudiced as to deny his clients a fair trial on appeal and of being subject to the control of a group of city officials. the Supreme Court of California affirmed the two-year suspension of an attorney who published a circular assailing a judge who at that time was a candidate for re-election to a judicial office. The circular which referred to two decisions of the judge concluded with a statement that the judge "used his judicial office to enable -said bank to keep that money. 17 if couched in insulting language as to bring into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice. or integrity of the courts. The entire publication evidences a desire on the part Of the accused to belittle and besmirch the court and to bring it into disrepute with the general public.W. as a lawyer. 220. for instance: "It may be (although we do not so decide) that a libelous publication by an attorney. every democratic theory to hold that a judge or a court is beyond bona fide comments and criticisms which do not exceed the bounds of decency and truth or which are not aimed at. Admitting that a "judge as a public official is neither sacrosanct nor immune to public criticism of his conduct in office. 2.In his relations with the courts. campaign. to the end that the public confidence in the due administration of justice be upheld." adding that: It would be contrary to. the better rule is that which requires of those who are permitted to enjoy the privilege of practicing law the strictest observance at all times of the principles of truth. 15 Ann Cas 197 and note: Ex parte Steinman 95 Pac.W." Said the court: We are aware that there is a line of authorities which place no limit to the criticism members of the bar may make regarding the capacity." Yet the false charges made by an attorney in that case were of graver character than those made by the respondent here. the destruction of public confidence in the judicial system as such.S. etc. 10 . 2d 672." the Supreme Court of Florida in State v. As a prefatory statement he wrote: "They say that Justice is BLIND. especially in their criticism of the courts. nevertheless declared that "any conduct of a lawyer which brings into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice demands condemnation and the application of appropriate penalties. impartiality. directed against a judicial officer. 102 So. 163 Pac. 130 N. v. in our view. may subject the attorney to disciplinary action. 3. Of fundamental pertinence at this juncture is an examination of relevant parallel precedents. but it took Municipal Judge Willard to prove that it is also DEAF and DUMB!" The court did not hesitate to find that the leaflet went much further than the accused. In re Collins. honesty and fairness. 1. 40 Am. an attorney was suspended for putting out and circulating a leaflet entitled "JUSTICE??? IN OTUMWA. 81 Pac. even though it extends to the deliberate publication by the attorney capable of correct reasoning of baseless insinuations against the intelligence and integrity of the highest courts. 212. However. had a right to do.) 585. could be so vile and of such a nature as to justify the disbarment of its author. 220. In the first case mentioned it was observed. a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another. Hart. But. 608. In In Re Glenn. Thus. 60. 637." which accused a municipal judge of having committed judicial error.
lies. 111 Atl. In People ex rel Chicago Bar Asso. an attorney. representing a woman who had been granted a divorce. if believed. Judges are not exempt from just criticism. The lawyer was charged with unprofessional conduct. he said: "However let me assure you I do not intend to allow such dastardly work to go unchallenged. was intended and calculated to bring the court into disrepute with the public." and said that he was engaged in dealing with men and not irresponsible political manikins or appearances of men. in cases that have reached final determination. In a public speech. and thereby reflecting on the administration of justice and creating the impression that judicial action is influenced by corrupt or improper motives. 123 N. Unjust criticism. It is only when an attorney transcends the limits of legitimate criticism that he will be held responsible for an abuse of his liberty of speech. a Rhode Island lawyer accused the courts of the state of being influenced by corruption and greed. as well as every other citizen. 5. 734. deprive him of any part of that freedom of speech which he possesses as a citizen. 6. Every attorney of this court. the Court said. The Court said: A calumny of that character. under the guise of disciplinary proceedings. The acts and decisions of the courts of this state. The letter began: Unless the record in In re Petersen v. and was ordered suspended for a period of two years. the Supreme Court of Illinois declared: . but the public interest and the administration of the law demand that the courts should have the confidence and respect of the people. insulting language. Petersen is cleared up so that my name is protected from the libel. Metzen. and asserted that the affidavit was the result of an impulse caused by what he considered grave injustice. Further. notwithstanding that he fully retracted and withdrew the statements. it is the right and duty of a lawyer to submit his grievances to the proper authorities. In In Re Rockmore. undermine its influence as an unbiased arbiter of the people's right. It does not appear that the attorney had criticized any of the opinions or decisions of the Court. Because a man is a member of the bar the court will not. attacked the judge who set aside the decree on bill of review. which tend to bring the courts and the law into disrepute and to destroy public confidence in their integrity. and interfere with the administration of justice. The Court said: We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there is a growing habit in the profession of criticising the motives and integrity of judicial officers in the discharge of their duties. and offensive conduct toward the judges personally by attorneys. bring its judgments into contempt. has the right and it is his duty.E. to submit charges to the authorities in whom is vested the power to remove judicial officers for any conduct or act of a judicial officer that tends to show a 11 . Such action. 725. as well as independent court. would tend to weaken the authority of the court against whose members it was made. cannot be permitted. an attorney was suspended for six months for submitting to an appellate court an affidavit reflecting upon the judicial integrity of the court from which the appeal was taken. and perjury committed in the cases involved.. v.4. 111 NYS 879.. together with the write-up in the Sunday papers. and the bringing of the unauthorized suit. saying that the seats of the Supreme Court were bartered. I shall be compelled to resort to such drastic action as the law allows and the case warrants. constitutes unprofessional conduct justifying suspension from practice.. In Re Troy. who are officers of the court. Ordering the attorney's disbarment. is always a vigilant defender of civil rights. . 723.. are not exempt from fair and honest comment and criticism. We well understand that an independent bar. He wrote the judge a threatening letter and gave the press the story of a proposed libel suit against the judge and others. The letter written to the judge was plainly an attempt to intimidate and influence him in the discharge of judicial functions. and whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint against a judge.
. charging the court of having arbitrarily and for a sinister purpose undertaken to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. with patience. 467. has reposed in them to deal with the affairs of the private individual. to criticise the decisions of the courts. For such conduct on the part of the members of the bar the law itself demands retribution — not the court. the attorney making such charges is guilty of professional misconduct. While we recognize the inherent right of an attorney in a case decided against him. direct.. however.. the protection of whose rights he lends his strength and money to maintain the judiciary.. through its duly established courts. The health of a municipality is none the less impaired by a polluted water supply than is the health of the thought of a community toward the judiciary by the filthy wanton. would be served by denying this right of free speech to any individual. if administered at all. 8. as well as to the ethics of the profession. 12 . or has improperly administered the duties devolved upon him. and such charges to the tribunal. a lawyer published this statement: I accepted the decision in this case.. No right thinking man would concede for a moment that the best interest to private citizens. who are bound by their duty to protect the administration of justice. 7. and the person making them protected. were dismissed after the attorney apologized to the Court. But such right does not have as its corollary that members of the bar who are sworn to act honestly and honorably both with their client and with the courts where justice is administered. will be encouraged. In In Re Mitchell. Breckenridge. tends to subvert the confidence of the community in the courts of justice and in the administration of justice.. 258 Pac. 747. as my clients were foreigners. Dabney v. barring possible temporary observations more or less vituperative and finally concluded. whether he labors in a judicial capacity or otherwise. Truth and honesty of purpose by members of the bar in such discussion is necessary. that. not only transcend the bounds of propriety and privileged criticism. could ever properly serve their client or the public good by designedly misstating facts or carelessly asserting the law. or the reasons announced for them. as well as to public officials. however. The charges. The Court suspended the respondent for 30 days. In State ex rel. and when such charges are made by officers of the courts. or the right of the Public generally. when the proceeding is not against the officers whose acts or motives are criticised. or would justify an inference that he is false to his trust. saying that: The privileges which the law gives to members of the bar is one most subversive of the public good. 71 So. the habit of criticising the motives of judicial officers in the performance of their official duties. it might have been expecting too much to look for a decision in their favor against a widow residing here. an attorney published in a newspaper an article in which he impugned the motives of the court and its members to try a case. .violation of his duties. The right of free speech and free discussion as to judicial determination is of prime importance under our system and ideals of government. the expressions above set out. and make out a prima facie case of improper conduct upon the part of a lawyer who holds a license from this court and who is under oath to demean himself with all good fidelity to the court as well as to his client. if based upon reasonable inferences. or by insinuation and innuendo. if the conduct of such members does not measure up to the requirements of the law itself. and malignant misuse of members of the bar of the confidence the public. but are an unwarranted attack. upon the motives and integrity of this court. The Supreme Court of Alabama declared that: ..
or of any privilege which any reputable attorney. When. it will gratify every right-minded citizen of the state to read it. . Its only effect in any case would be to gratify the spite of an angry attorney and humiliate the officers so assailed. could ever have any occasion or desire to assert. The point is this: Is a proper motive for the decisions discoverable. The letters were published in a newspaper. to which reference has been made. 116 N. In Bar Ass'n of San Francisco v. was considered conduct unbecoming of a member of the bar. 13 . In State Board of Examiners v.. delivered its opinion as follows: The question remains whether the accused was guilty of professional misconduct in sending to the Chief Justice the letter addressed to him.) p. willfully violated his obligation to maintain the respect due to courts and judicial officers. aided by the researches of its hundreds of bright. 1017. guaranteed by the Constitution and sanctioned by considerations of public policy. and for any words. This lawyer wrote a personal letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota impugning both the intelligence and the integrity of the said Chief Justice and his associates in the decisions of certain appeals in which he had been attorney for the defeated litigants. which shall not require fumigation before it is stated. or if any member of the court. or the faculty of the University Law School. The Supreme Court of Minnesota. Hart. as we hold. for the very purpose of insulting him and the other justices of this court. addressed secretly to the judge alone. can resent such an insult otherwise than by methods sanctioned by law. oral or written. In these respects the sending by the accused of this letter to the Chief Justice was wholly different from his other acts charged in the accusation. and. Philbrook. however he proceeded and thus assailed the Chief Justice personally." "criminal confederates. or a committee chosen from its rank. or indecent. in ordering the suspension of the attorney for six months. however abusive." "colossal and confident insolence. "The sending of a libelous communication or libelous matter to the person defamed does not constitute an actionable publication. wholly different principles are applicable thereto. and the name of the erring lawyer was ordered stricken from the roll of attorneys. on the contrary. and quarantine after it is made. The conduct of the accused was in every way discreditable. he was immune. It would not and could not ever enlighten the public in regard to their judicial capacity or integrity.W.9. Law (2d Ed. 215. and the insult was so directed to the Chief Justice personally because of acts done by him and his associates in their official capacity. the filing of an affidavit by an attorney in a pending action using in respect to the several judges the terms criminal corrupt. short of assigning to the court emasculated intelligence. 10. Nor was it an exercise by the accused of any constitutional right." "criminal prosecution. the erring attorney claimed that greater latitude should be allowed in case of criticism of cases finally adjudicated than in those pending. or umpire. 170 Pac. Such a communication. Enc. active students. as we have found. with due regard to his position. & Eng. as we have said. but. so made. To that extent his rights as a citizen were paramount to the obligation which he had assumed as an officer of this court. This was done. uninfluenced by passion. with the court acting as a fence. watchful and vigilant that the widow got no undue advantage. can formulate a statement of a correct motive for the decision. he can have no redress in any action triable by a jury. 440." 18 Am. "This obligation is not discharged by merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in open court. from the penalty here sought to be enforced.." "a corrupt deadfall. It seems like robbing a widow to reward a fraud. and wicked conspiracies. or any other person." "calculated brutality. he exercised no right which the court can recognize. vile. but so far as he exercised the rights of a citizen." and similar phrases. No judicial officer. One of the letters contained this paragraph: You assigned it (the property involved) to one who has no better right to it than the burglar to his plunder. or a constipation of morals and faithlessness to duty? If the state bar association.. could never subserve any good purpose.
14 . 65. and a personal insult for like cause by written or spoken words addressed to the judge in his chambers or at his home or elsewhere. either as principals or accessories.Y. 214." said the court." That a communication such as this. 408. after being defeated in a case. induced by his official act. 14.but it includes abstaining out of court from all insulting language and offensive conduct toward the judges personally for their official acts. 186 Pa. has been directly decided. . Our conclusion is that the charges against the accused have been so far sustained as to make it our duty to impose such a penalty as may be sufficient lesson to him and a suitable warning to others. the matter should be "called to the attention of the Supreme Court." Bradley v. as has been shown. While the court in that case. The result is I have been robbed of 80. was in this respect much the same as the case at bar. while not holding court.Y." Matter of Manheim 133 App. addressed to the Judge personally. with unjust rulings.. 351. Scouten's Appeal.) 355. we think entirely logical and well sustained by authority. Cas. neither is it common sense. 179 Pa. and in support of its application to the facts of this case. in which it was stated. between the indignity of an assault by an attorney upon a judge.) 364. 7 Colo 237. 7 Wall (U. Atl. "Is it in the power of any person. State (Ala. 36 Atl. 99 N. manly man would hold judicial office under such conditions. Supp. which the latter received by due course of mail. And there appears to be no distinction. at his home. 374. we cite the following: Ex parte Bradley. which has power to discipline the attorney. Either act constitutes misconduct wholly different from criticism of judicial acts addressed or spoken to others.. 671. and thereby breached his oath as an attorney. an attorney at law. People v.S. to compel the judge to forfeit either his own self-respect to the regard of the people by tame submission to the indignity. "counsel learned in the law are permitted by writings leveled at the heads of judges. It was recognized in Ex parte McLeod supra." As recognizing the same principle. as regards the principle involved. 3 Pac.S. Beene v.Y. Ed. wrote and mailed a letter to the circuit judge. Div. No high-minded." And it was decided that." says the court. 481. 20 L. Commonwealth v. 87 The same is held in Re Griffin (City Ct. "by insulting or assaulting the judge because of official acts.. and thus the lot of a judge will be anything but a happy one. 7 and in Re Wilkes (City Ct. constitutes professional delinquency for which a professional punishment may be imposed. and which referred in insulting terms to the conduct of the judge in a cause wherein the accused had been one of the attorneys. for his rulings in a cause wholly concluded. 270. fully sustained the right of a citizen to criticise rulings of the court in actions which are ended. "An attorney who. 244." "If. The distinction made is. 136. it will not be long before the general public may feel that they may redress their fancied grievances in like manner. to charge them with ignorance. if only the assailant restrains his passion until the judge leaves the building. in reference to his decision: "It is not law. 134. 646.) 44 South. wrote a personal letter to the trial justice. 2 Va. Ed. The accused. 149." The recent case of Johnson v. 19 L. Dandridge. it held that one might be summarily punished for assaulting a judicial officer. or else set in his own person the evil example of punishing the insult by taking the law in his own hands? . in that case a commissioner of the court. 49 Am. while such conduct was not a contempt under the state. Rep. Smith's Appeal. Green. Fisher. 22 Ark.) 3 N.. State. is guilty of misconduct and will be disciplined by the court. and the administration of justice will fall into bad repute. 13 Wall.) 1 N. For this it was held that the attorney was rightly disbarred in having "willfully failed to maintain respect due to him [the judge] as a judicial officer. (U. In the latter case it appeared that the accused attorney had addressed a sealed letter to a justice of the City Court of New York. and with robbery. complaining of his conduct and reflecting upon his integrity as a justice.
411." There. is to breed disrespect for courts and bring the legal profession into disrepute with the public. 2d 659. critical of the courts and their judicial actuations." this Court. but it is not. Hernandez. because the court is thereby charged with no less than having proceeded in utter disregard of the laws. dissatisfied with the loss of a case. His disbarment was ordered. nevertheless illustrates that universal abhorrence of such condemnable practices. said the court. 13.. In In Re Doss. 172 F. prepared over a period of years vicious attacks on jurists. and never will be so for him to exercise said right by resorting to intimidation or proceeding without the propriety and respect which the dignity of the courts requires. an inexcusable disrespect of the authority of the court and an intentional contempt of its dignity. In In Re Graves. the court held that an attorney's unjustifiable attack against the official acts and decisions of a judge constitutes "moral turpitude.. 61 Phil. Cases of comparable nature have generally been disposed of under the power of courts to punish for contempt which. The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that his acts involved such gross moral turpitude as to make him unfit as a member of the bar. whether amounting to a crime or not. although conceding that It is right and plausible that an attorney. The invariable effect of this sort of propaganda. but his decisions in general claiming that the judge was dishonest in reaching his decisions and unfair in his general conduct of a case. the court affirmed a lawyer's suspension for 18 months for publishing a letter in a newspaper in which he accused a judge of being under the sinister influence of a gang that had paralyzed him for two years. Grimes. 641. an attorney published newspaper articles after the trial of cases. rarely have we wielded our disciplinary powers in the face of unwarranted outbursts of counsel such as those catalogued in the above-cited jurisprudence. 221 Pac. In Salcedo vs. 12 N. 12. even though he expressed an intention to resign from the bar. found counsel guilty of contempt inasmuch as. in its opinion. which transcend the permissible bounds of fair comment and legitimate criticism and thereby tend to bring them into disrepute or to subvert public confidence in their integrity and in the orderly administration of justice. the statements made disclosed . The reason for this is that respect for the courts guarantees the stability of their institution. 354 Pac. criticising the court in intemperate language. made by lawyers.E. Without such guaranty. The teaching derived from the above disquisition and impressive affluence of judicial pronouncements is indubitable: Post-litigation utterances or publications. an attorney. 2d 108. the rights to the parties. A perusal of the more representative of these instances may afford enlightenment. for which reason the lawyer was disbarred. should do so with all the fervor and energy of which he is capable. In State v. In Cobb v. constitute grave professional misconduct which may be visited with disbarment or other lesser appropriate disciplinary sanctions by the Supreme Court in the exercise of the prerogatives inherent in it as the duly constituted guardian of the morals and ethics of the legal fraternity. although resting on different bases and calculated to attain a different end. and 'of the untoward consequences. or with 15 . the attorney was disbarred for criticising not only the judge.11. United States. 1. where counsel branded the denial of his motion for reconsideration as "absolutely erroneous and constituting an outrage to the rigths of the petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the popular will expressed at the polls. said institution would be resting on a very shaky foundation. in defending the cause and rights of his client. 14. Of course. 724.
In In re Sotto. despite his avowals of good faith and his invocation of the guarantee of free speech. . and thus embarrass or obstruct the administration of justice.. 595.. which without such guaranty would be resting on a very shaky foundation. to which he owes fidelity according to the oath he has taken as such attorney. the Court therein hastened to emphasize that . of justice ." and his belief that "In the wake of so many blunders and injustices deliberately committed during these last years. Manuel Araullo and other learned jurists who were the honor and glory of the Philippine Judiciary. reaching to.. Respect to the courts guarantees the stability of other institutions.]. is to change the members of the Supreme Court.. The Supreme Court of the Philippines is. are incompetent and narrow minded. 2. the respondent does not merely criticize or comment on the decision of the Parazo case. under the Constitution. would tend necessarily to undermine the confidence of the people in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court. Francisco's client . . of which he is one of the members.S.or degrade the administration of justice by this Court.. Atty.having abused its power and mocked and flouted the rights of Attorney Vicente J. refused to divulge the source of a news item carried in his paper.. 586. Finding him in contempt. As a member of the bar and an officer of the courts.R. an attorney as an officer of the court is under special obligation to be respectful in his conduct and communication to the courts..A." which tribunal he denounced as "a constant peril to liberty and democracy" and "a far cry from the impregnable bulwark of justice of those memorable times of Cayetano Arellano. 82 Phil. To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years committing deliberately so many blunders and injustices. who.) 16 . that is to say. caused to be published in i local newspaper a statement expressing his regret "that our High Tribunal has not only erroneously interpreted said law. he may be removed from office or stricken from the roll of attorneys as being guilty of flagrant misconduct (17 L. and disorder and perhaps chaos might be the result. so as to change the members of this Court which decided the Parazo case. this Court declared: But in the above-quoted written statement which he caused to be published in the press. and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice. reorganizing the Supreme Court and reducing the number of Justices from eleven. in many cases decided during the last years. . in order to influence the final decision of said case by this Court. and if the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court and believe that they cannot expect justice therefrom. Significantly. is in duty bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court. but it is once more putting in evidence the incompetency or narrow mindedness of the majority of its members. that it has been deciding in favor of Que party knowing that the law and justice is on the part of the adverse party and not on the one in whose favor the decision was rendered. too. and consequently to lower .. invoking said law. He not only intends to intimidate the members of this Court with the presentation of a bill in the next Congress. like any other. counsel. a senator and the author of the Press Freedom Law." He there also announced that one of the first measures he would introduce in then forthcoming session of Congress would have for its object the complete reorganization of the Supreme Court. they might be driven to take the law into their own hands. which was then and still is pending consideration by this Court upon petition of Angel Parazo. the only remedy to put an end to go much evil. 594. [N. But the respondent also attacks the honesty and integrity of this Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the Justices of this Court into disrepute and degrading the administration. the last bulwark to which the Filipino people may repair to obtain relief for their grievances or protection of their rights when these are trampled upon. Vicente Sotto. Victorino Mapa. the imprisonment for contempt of one Angel Parazo. who according to his statement.
in the interest of brevity. this was an adoption of the view expressed by Chief Justice Moran in his dissent in Alarcon to the effect that them may still be contempt by publication even after a case has been terminated. A publication which tends to degrade the courts and to destroy public confidence in them or that which tends to bring them in any way into disrepute. Implicit in the quoted statements is that the pronouncements of this Court on the jurisdiction of the industrial court are not entitled to respect. Those statements detract much from the dignity of and respect due this Court. Justice Sanchez stressed: As we look back at the language (heretofore quoted) employed in the motion for reconsideration. For sometime. Alarcon. 18 which. Virtually. The rule that bars contempt after a judicial proceeding has terminated." Similar thoughts and sentiments have been expressed in other cases not now be reviewed in detail. The plain import of all these is that this Court is so patently inept that in determining the jurisdiction of the industrial court. What is sought. The second paragraph quoted yields a tone of sarcasm which counsel labelled as "so called" the "rule against splitting of jurisdiction. Moran dissented with the holding of the majority. however.the pitfall of blindly adhering to its previous "erroneous" pronouncements. implications there are which inescapably arrest attention. It speaks of one pitfall into which this Court has repeatedly fallen whenever the jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations comes into question. et al. constitutes criminal contempt which is 'summarily punishable by courts. in line with the doctrinal rule that the protective mantle of contempt may ordinarily be invoked only against scurrilous remarks or malicious innuendoes while a court mulls over a pending case and not after the conclusion thereof. and is equally punishable by courts.3. this was the prevailing view in this jurisdiction. in People vs. Laurel. is the all-important duty of the courts to administer justice in the decision of a pending case.. "in disregard of the law on jurisdiction" of the Court of Industrial Relations. Articulating the sentiments of the Court. A complete disengagement from the settled rule was later to be made in In re Brillantes. 17 . It makes a sweeping charge that the decisions of this Court. speaking thru Justice Jose P. it has committed error and continuously repeated that error to the point of perpetuation. a common denominator underlies the aforecited cases — all of them involved contumacious statements made in pleadings filed pending litigation. Ferrer: In re Proceedings against Alfonso Ponce Enrile. That pitfall is the tendency of this Court to rely on its own pronouncements in disregard of the law on jurisdiction. In Rheem of the Philippines vs. where counsel charged this Court with having "repeatedly fallen" into . supra. embarrass or influence the courts in administering justice in a pending suit or proceeding. Mr. They bring into question the capability of the members — and some former members of this Court to render justice. It pictures this Court as one which refuses to hew to the line drawn by the law on jurisdictional boundaries. In the second kind of contempt. to be shielded against the influence of newspaper comments. This is of no moment. blindly adhere to earlier rulings without as much as making any reference to and analysis of the pertinent statute governing the jurisdiction of the industrial court. where the editor of the Manila Guardian was adjudged in contempt for publishing an editorial which asserted that the 1944 Bar Examinations were conducted in a farcical manner after the question of the validity of the said examinations had been resolved and the case closed. 21 a contempt proceeding. which upheld the rule above-adverted to. need Of course. The first stir for a modification thereof. the punitive hand of justice is extended to vindicate the courts from any act or conduct calculated to bring them into disfavor or to destroy public confidence in them. 19 Atty. has lost much of its vitality. came when. in the first kind of contempt. So that. our condemnation of counsel's misconduct was unequivocal. 20 the then Chief Justice Manuel V. obstruct. Said Chief Justice Moran in Alarcon: A publication which tends to impede. constitutes likewise criminal contempt. Almacen would now seek to sidestep the thrust of a contempt charge by his studied emphasis that the remarks for which he is now called upon to account were made only after this Court had written finis to his appeal.
1967.In the first there is no contempt where there is no action pending. who are officers of the court. Such a view is without support in any respectable authority. not only the right. consideration of whether or not he could be held liable for contempt for such post litigation utterances and actuations. to withdraw the privilege. however. because the admission of a lawyer to the practice of law is a representation to all that he is worthy of their confidence and respect. in the exercise of the disciplinary power the morals inherent in our authority and duty to safeguard and ethics of the legal profession and to preserve its ranks from the intrusions of unprincipled and unworthy disciples of the noblest of callings. and that one is admitted to the bar and exercises his functions as an attorney. the contempt exists. Undoubtedly. He could as much be liable for contempt therefor as if it had been perpetrated during the pendency of the said appeal. 22 our is the solemn duty. 25 Our authority and duty in the premises being unmistakable. By the tenor of our Resolution of November 17. Almacen's professional identity. no comfort is afforded Atty. 23 This. the pendency or non-pendency of a case in court is altogether of no consequence.. that power to remove or suspend has risen above being a mere inherent or incidental power. Thus — The power to discipline attorneys. In this inquiry. in this jurisdiction. to determine the rules for admission to the practice of law. 24 Indeed. and cannot be tolerated. it becomes. we have confronted the situation here presented solely in so far as it concerns Atty. in the exercise of a sound judicial discretion to exclude them from practice. Inherent in this prerogative is the corresponding authority to discipline and exclude from the practice of law those who have proved themselves unworthy of continued membership in the Bar. as what is sought to be protected is the court itself and its dignity. by removing or suspending a member whose misconduct has proved himself unfit to continue to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney. his sworn duty as a lawyer and his fitness as an officer of this Court.. Therefore it is almost universally held that both the admission and disbarment of attorneys are judicial acts. Courts would lose their utility if public confidence in them is destroyed. Any court having the right to admit attorneys to practice and in this state that power is vested in this court-has the inherent right. So much so that — . but the duty. To deny its existence is equivalent to a declaration that the conduct of attorneys towards courts and clients is not subject to restraint. Accordingly. whenever it is made to appear to the court that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of the public and of the courts. The sole objective of this proceeding is to preserve the purity of the legal profession. 18 . but as a privilege conditioned on his own behavior and the exercise of a just and sound judicial discretion. It has been elevated to an express mandate by the Rules of Court. In the second. More than this. with or without a pending case. not as a matter of right. amongst others. of the court which made him one of its officers. is here immaterial. this is well within our authority to do. we now proceed to make an assessment of whether or not the utterances and actuations of Atty. and one which is essential to an orderly discharge of judicial functions. Almacen here in question are properly the object of disciplinary sanctions. is an inherent and incidental power in courts of record. as there is no decision which might in any way be influenced by the newspaper publication. and gave him the privilege of ministering within its bar. Almacen by the circumstance that his statements and actuations now under consideration were made only after the judgment in his client's appeal had attained finality. By constitutional mandate.
stir up public indignation and disrespect toward the Court. 26 It is not accurate to say. the Court is not.to startle the public. as Atty. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal. inflict punishment. Instead. but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its officers." he caused the publication in the papers of an account of his actuations. real qualities approached only through constant striving to attain them. there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor. Almacen would have appear. But a critique of the Court must be intelligent and discriminating. The vicious language used and the scurrilous innuendoes they carried far transcend the permissible bounds of legitimate criticism.The proffered surrender of his lawyer's certificate is. the members of the Court are the "complainants. We must once more stress our explicit disclaimer of immunity from criticism. it is in no sense a criminal prosecution. he actually availed of the said move as a vehicle for his vicious tirade against this Court. possess the quality of judiciousness and must be informed -by perspective and infused by philosophy. They could never serve any purpose but to gratify the spite of an irate attorney. offered no apology. and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. prosecutors and judges" all rolled up into one in this instance. no statute." With unmitigated acerbity. he virtually makes this Court and its members with verbal talons. Called upon to make an explanation. This is an utter misapprehension. Hence. Almacen's part. It is not a whit less than a classic example of gross misconduct. more important of all. Unorthodox though it may seem. and should not be. Like any other Government entity in a viable democracy. Picturing his client as "a sacrificial victim at the altar of hypocrisy. The way for the exertion of our disciplinary powers is thus laid clear. alluding to the Scriptures. this proceeding is not — and does not involve — a trial of an action or a suit. the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. And more than this. not only of the nature of the proceeding at hand but also of our role therein. 27 Not being intended to. nor is it an obstacle to the exercise of our authority in . valid and healthy criticism is by no means synonymous to obloquy. there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. above criticism. in a calculated effort ." he categorically denounces the justice administered by this Court to be not only blind "but also deaf and dumb. Any criticism of the Court must. imputing to the Court the perpetration of "silent injustices" and "short-cut justice" while at the same time branding its members as "calloused to pleas of justice.this Court and its members into disrepute and destroy public confidence in them to the detriment of the orderly administration of justice. purely potestative on Atty. Almacen's petition. true to his announced threat to argue the cause of his client "in the people's forum. attract public attention to himself and. Accent should be laid on the fact that disciplinary proceedings like the present are sui generis. The integrated entirety of his petition bristles with vile insults all calculated to drive home his contempt for and disrespect to the Court and its members. As such. if not a total distortion. Beyond making the mere offer. In haughty and coarse language. 28 Public interest is its primary objective. he rehashed and reiterated his vituperative attacks and. Odium of this character and texture presents no redeeming feature. no law stands in its way. and completely negates any pretense of passionate commitment to the truth.the premises. virtually tarred and feathered the Court and its members as inveterate hypocrites incapable of administering justice and unworthy to impose disciplinary sanctions upon him. and the need therefor is unavoidable. The virulence so blatantly evident in Atty. and requires detachment and disinterestedness. Accordingly. answer and oral argumentation speaks for itself. he expressed no regret. with characteristic arrogance. of course. 29 In such posture. however." And. gross violation of the lawyer's oath and gross transgression of the Canons of Legal Ethics. he went farther. bring . in the exercise of its disciplinary powers. 19 . it cannot be allowed to go unrebuked. fitting to its high function as the court of last resort. that.
His demonstrated persistence in his misconduct by neither manifesting repentance nor offering apology therefor leave us no way of determining how long that suspension should last and.. suspended from the practice of law until further orders. Any tirade against the Court as a body is necessarily and inextricably as much so against the individual members thereof. acting as a Court. Almacen for his transgressions. accordingly. which is lesser in degree and effect. should ever be controlled by the imperative need that the purity and independence of the Bar be scrupulously guarded and the dignity of and respect due to the Court be zealously maintained. But in the exercise of its disciplinary powers. ACCORDINGLY. at any time after the suspension becomes effective he may prove to this Court that he is once again fit to resume the practice of law. 20 . Almacen to determine for himself how long or how short that suspension shall last. being neither arbitrary and despotic nor motivated by personal animosity or prejudice. prosecutor and judge is absolutely inexistent. aggrieved parties. even lives. the members of the Court are. The merit of this choice is best shown by the fact that it will then be left to Atty. primarily addressed to the sound discretion of the Court which. the individual members act not as such individuals but. in a very real sense. nay. the Solicitor General and the Court of Appeals for their information and guidance. However. the power to exclude persons from the practice of law is but a necessary incident of the power to admit persons to said practice. heeding the stern injunction that disbarment should never be decreed where a lesser sanction would accomplish the end desired.. would be placed at grave hazard should the administration of justice be threatened by the retention in the Bar of men unfit to discharge the solemn responsibilities of membership in the legal fraternity. it can only be the Court itself. Consistently with the intrinsic nature of a collegiate court. C. Dizon. the imagined anomaly of the merger in one entity of the personalities of complainant. Their distinct individualities are lost in the majesty of their office. Finally. can be regarded as falling outside of the compass of that authority. that fact alone does not and cannot disqualify them from the exercise of that power because public policy demands that they. and believing that it may not perhaps be futile to hope that in the sober light of some future day. Teehankee. In the end. Last to engage our attention is the nature and extent of the sanctions that may be visited upon Atty. Reyes. As marked out by the Rules of Court. For. the Court acts as an entity separate and distinct from the individual personalities of its members. as he is hereby. only as a duly constituted court..L.Undeniably. even without the comforting support of precedent. this power is vested exclusively in this Court. concur. 30 So that.. not the individual members thereof — as well as the people themselves whose rights. Let copies of this resolution. to a certain degree. IT IS THE SENSE of the Court that Atty. This duty it cannot abdicate just as much as it cannot unilaterally renounce jurisdiction legally invested upon it. these may range from mere suspension to total removal or disbarment.J. Almacen will realize that abrasive language never fails to do disservice to an advocate and that in every effervescence of candor there is ample room for the added glow of respect. That the misconduct committed by Atty. Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen be. it is obvious that if we have authority to completely exclude a person from the practice of law. exercise the power in all cases which call for disciplinary action. fortunes and properties. Concepcion. of course. Zaldivar. it is our view that suspension will suffice under the circumstances. if there be any complainant in the case at bar. we are impelled to decree that the same should be indefinite. Makalintal.B. there is no reason why indefinite suspension. 31 So that even if it be conceded that the members collectively are in a sense the aggrieved parties. be furnished the Secretary of Justice. The present is such a case. Almacen is of considerable gravity cannot be overemphasized. the suspension to take effect immediately.. Barredo and Villamor JJ. J. 32 The discretion to assess under the circumstances the imposable sanction is. Sanchez. By constitutional precept. This. we are empowered to do not alone because jurisprudence grants us discretion on the matter 33 but also because.
W.Fernando. 2d 432 (1959). 96 Phil. 329. 69 Phil. 3 In the years 1966. Bee Pub. Rep. 340 Pac. State. Mangahas. See also State ex rel Atty. G. 657. 90. "is neither sacrosanct nor immune to public criticism of his conduct in office. 12 "A judge as a public official. 31. Oct. 801 (1930) . See Pennekamp v. this Court rejected by minute resolutions 803. 10 U.R. 9 In re Jameson. 1967. Case of Austin. 1295.g. Hart. 2d 432 (1959) . Re Ades. 61 Phil. 134 N. Footnotes 1 Docketed as Civil Case 8909 on September 17. L-8974. dissenting). 29 So. Hill vs. J. Masaquel. In re Pryor." said Justice Thornal in State v. 293 (Concurring opinion of Justice Taft). Re Troy (1920). 11 State Board of Examiners v. respectively. 126 NYS 2d 286. v. 7 Strebel v. Dec.S. 2d 653. "Mounting Discontent against the Supreme Court's Minute Resolution." 32 Lawyers J. Bustos. 116 N.. Caig v. 26 Am. Austria vs. v.. 1967 and 1968. and resolved by extended decision or resolutions 279 cases. In re Contempt Proceedings. In re Jameson. J. Hill vs. Aug. Atty. 131 So. L18974. Hernandez. 376. 68 L. 1957. 18. 212. Cabansag vs. State vs. 28 Am. 682 and 848 petitions. 111 Atl. 43 Phil. respectively.. Ex Parte Steinman. 265 (1939). 193. 194. 2d 604. Rep. 72 N. Cabansag v. 723. 26 Am. took no part. Alarcon. Medgar Evers v.S. Rep. State of Florida. 18. 340 Pac. 611 and 760 cases.R. 2d 918. 90 L. W. p. In re Abistado 57 Phil.. 474. 204. Case of Austin. 40 Am." 31 Lawyers J. State. Salcedo vs. 118 Atl. 37 Phil. Circuit Ct. Oct." 13 In re Bozorth. L-22536. 6 F 2d 467. Goons v.W. Sweetland. 731 (1918). People vs. Sullivan. In re Bozorth.. Hecht. 731 (1918) . Dec. 432: "The harsh and sometimes unfounded criticism of the members of any of the three branches of our Government may be unfortunate lot of public officials ..E. 2 See e. Rep. 54 N. 6 In re Gomez. 37 Phil. Figueras. 736 (Malcolm. 31. 328 U. Re Pryor. but it has always been deemed a basic principle that such comment may be made by the public . 637. 83 N. ed. 21 . Austria vs. Co. 376. ed. Circuit Ct. G. and resolved by extended decisions or resolutions 584.. (1897). 102 So.. et al. 2d 432. 325. "Lack of Merit Resolutions are Obnoxious. Lyman. Gen. In re Gomez. 657. 668 (1932). Fernandez.W.S. 17 LRA (NS) 585. J. 747. For the period covering the first six months of the year 1969. 415. Masaquel. 65 Am. Aug. . vs. 118 A. 43 Phil. 5 In re Gomez.. 1965 in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. Bustos. p. this Court rejected by minute resolutions 445 petitions. Fernandez. 331. 28 Am. supra. St. Lyman. 8 State v. State. Calhoon. State ex rel. In re Lozano and Quevedo. 321 (1954). Gen. 1957. 4 U. In re Gomez. Brannon v.. supra. 126 NYS 2d 286. 1967. vs. 54 Phil. L-22536.
Nor should the judicial branch . 312.E. 1 NYS 7. L-9270. In re Shannon. however. 2d 604. said: ". Bee Pub. 801. 352. 163 P. 99 Phil. In Snyder's Case.. People vs. 39. 775. 20 69 Phil. Rhodes." 14 Sec. Mr. 2d 285. 192. 170 P. In re Abistado. or courts as institutions. 775. 69 Phil. April 29. 18 Medina vs. ed. 77 S. where an attorney was suspended for three years for writing a judge a letter in which he said that the judge in signing an order took "advantage of your office to rule with passion and vehemence. 65. Court. July 30. 116 N. 76 ALR 666. 66 Phil. 668. Therefore judges must be kept mindful of their limitations and of their ultimate public responsibility by a vigorous stream of criticism expressed with candor however blunt "A man cannot be summarily laid by the heels because his words may make public feeling more unfavorable in case the judge should be asked to act at some later date. Re Hart. CFI of Rizal. In re Griffin. 2d 405. Re Manheim. Calhoon.. 723. 44 So. People vs. Rule 138. 85 Phil. Kaiser.. are entitled to no greater immunity from criticism than other persons or institutions. enjoy any more enviable condition than the other two branches. 3 P. 964. 772. 212 Pac. 315. would probably engender resentment.. Re Huppe. Winds of doctrine should freely blow for the promotion of good and the correction of evil. Green. 1101. 16 See e. Alarcon. 579. 19 In re Gomez. State ex rel. 13 P. 376. 11 Pac. Venturanza. In re Klein. 1965. L-24438. Dist. People vs. who wrote the minority opinion. De Joya. California. 262 NYS 2d 416. 111 A. 3 NYS 753. 1965." Also People v." . 772.E. State vs. et al. Commonwealth.restraint. by self. 155 P. 67 Phil. 151. Grice vs. vs.. Rivera. In re Lozano. 1032. Tan. 22 . 671. suspicion. 85 Phil. 66 F. and contempt much more than it would enhance respect. 907. 27 Pac. any more than he can for exciting public feeling against a judge for what he already has done. 879. Carillo." Mr. Cruz. 60. State v. 77 Phil. 89 N. 1959. Weston vs. There have sometimes been martinets upon the bench as there have sometimes been wielders of authority who have used the paraphernalia of power in support of what they called their dignity. et al. 85 Phil. 97 Pac. Co. ed. 20(b). 212. solely in the name of preserving the dignity of the bench.. Colorado. State v. 262 NYS 2d 349. Nor should restrictions be permitted that cramp the feeling of freedom in the use of tongue or pen regardless of the temper of the truth of what may be uttered. Justice Frankfurter. 36 A 130. Re Rogers. Sprigs. 204. 102. and by good taste.g.W. Re Greenfield. In the matter of the Intestate Estate of Rosario Olba. Cornejo vs.. Courts and judges mast take their share of the gains and pains of discussion which is unfettered except by laws of libel. 151 Pac. 2d 793. limited. Sandejas. 54 Phil. State. Just because the holders of judicial office are identified with the interest of justice they may forget their common human frailties and fallibilities. an enforced silence. Contempt proceedings against Antonio Franco. Dist. 265. Sison vs. Patterson vs. Re Chopac. 2d 1002. said: "Judges as persons. In re Wilkes. Rule 138. 86 L. 57 Phil. State vs. 214. Justice Black.. Supp. In re McCowan." In Bridges v. 15 Sec. 99 NYS 87. In re Smith. 211. Re Troy. 131 NW 2d 118. insulting language to him. Court. Tan. See also Johnson v. Cornejo vs.W. speaking for the majority. 3. 17 In re Humphrey. State vs. where an attorney was disbarred for stopping a judge upon the street and addressed abusive. 914. State v. In re Thatcher. Paragas vs. 43 Phil. 83 N. 1034. 51 L.
W. In re Jacobson. Section 12.E. 783. pp. Trapley. No. 29 Ex Parte Tyler. 878. 2. Winogard. and the cases therein cited. 22 Atl.E. 2d 136. Wilkerson.E. O'Niell. Freund. Fairfield County Bar vs. citing Cooley. 33. Ex parte Alabama State Bar Ass'n. Frontiers of Civil Liberties. January 21. 552. 287 Pac. Treadwell's case. 1969. Castillo. 619. 10 Ann." 74 Harvard Law Review. 126 S. 87. 94. 44 Atl. vs. 1220. 768. 158 A. 192 N. Griswold. 39. In re Gullickson. 273.. People vs. 4. State vs. Inc. 1969. Deles vs. 27 In re Montagne and Dominguez. 60-61. On Law and Justice (1968) ch. 112 N.W.E.E. Mulvey vs.G. 286. De Durant. Vol. People vs. March 28.E. 724. 156 N. 292 N. Perfecto vs. Aragona. 47 O. 274. Rule 138. Jennings. 259 Pac. 870. 24 Re Thatcher. 627. Harris. State ex rel Oklahoma Bar Ass'n vs. 181 Atl. 767. 27 SCRA 634. 2d 136 N. In re Eddy. 2d 873. Rules of Court. 978. 12 (Supp) pp. 83 N. 89. 40 Pac. 33 Melville vs. 716. 553.E. 383. 2d 699. 91 Atl. States vs. Rules of Court. Constitutional Limitations.E. 23 Re Simpson. 2d 880. 541. L-29755. Hatcher. In re Borchardt. Agregado. "Of Time and Attitudes. et al. 1913. 32 Section 27. 285 Pac.G. Kelly. State vs. 441. P. (1961) pp. 98 A. 2d 346. Paul A. Cleveland Bar Ass'n vs. 59. Wettengel. 7 Pac. 34. Radiowealth. 3 Phil. 644. Rule 138. 30 Sarcos vs. The Supreme Court of the United States.. Kern. 28 State vs. Anderson. 864. 629. Meer.. 799.S. 31 Cf. 85 Phil. 577. 8 So. 233 N. Grimsell vs. 176-177. Constitution. 22 Article VIII. 89 N. Taylor.21 42 O. 26 See Norman Dorsen. 159 S. 23 . see also Freund. People vs. 112 N. 25 Section 27. Cas. 57 Pa. Turano. 209 Pac. Haitmanek vs. Peck.Y. 81. People vs. 84. Wilcox.
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